America has lost its soul

I hate what Bush and the Republicans are doing to my country. I feel like I am living in some sort of foreign land that superficially seems to be American but has had its soul sucked out. I live in a meaner and more divided country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the powers that be believe in their hearts that this is good. The powers that be have become the moneychangers in the temple to whom Jesus alluded.

There was a time when I felt we were all in this together. We were one nation and one people. Now, thanks largely to Bush and his Republican cronies, I feel like we are one nation very much divided. The oligarchy is now firmly in control and big business owns the country.

As if we needed more examples to see it, the new Medicare prescription drug care bill is a perfect case in point. As this chart points out the effect of the new law will be to pay only a modest percentage of seniors’ total drug costs. But this bill does little to restrain drug prices from rising. Instead of using the buying power of the federal government to purchase Medicare drugs, it creates numerous buying groups. The effect is to prop up the drug company prices (as if they were hurting for revenues in the first place) and add even more burden on the taxpayers and senior citizens. Not surprisingly the drug companies were big donors to Bush’s presidential campaign, and to the campaign coffers of those putting together this legislation.

Meanwhile, the rape of our government continues. Voters are bought off by modest tax cuts that create unheard of levels of deficit spending, burden them and their children with future public debt, but actually put the bulk of the money in the hands of the richest Americans who need it the least. The energy bill likely to be passed by Congress hands billions of tax dollars to already rich energy companies. It throws more money on research into technologies, like ethanol, that are have repeatedly proven not economically viable. Our Environmental Protection Agency goes out of its way to make it easier for polluters to pollute. Here in the Washington area it looks like once again we will get a waiver so we don’t have to seriously address our regional air pollution problem. I guess the growing numbers of people with asthma don’t yet constitute a majority of citizens locally. The Congress is saying in effect: screw their lungs and let’s keep buying those Hummers to exacerbate the problem. Oh, and speaking of Hummers, MS-NBC recently ran a story that indicated Hummers, as well as most SUVs or luxury cars, can now be written off as business expenses by the self employed. Yes, take a tax credit for making the air more polluted that necessary!

Overseas we squandered our good will and sympathy through obnoxiousness and ignorant foreign policy based on ideology instead of an impartial appraisal of the facts. Much of the money for our unwinnable war in Iraq goes to support companies that funded Bush’s 2000 election campaign. (Example: Haliburton charges the U.S. Army up to $1.70 a gallon for gas in Iraq, when it is locally available for 4-15 cents a gallon.)

I don’t understand why Americans can’t see how our country is being so recklessly pillaged. Our skies are dirtier, our water more polluted, our military is overextended, our nation is less safe, more Americans lose health insurance every day, three million new unemployed have been created in three years and we are bought off by tiny tax cuts which are quickly taken from us in the form of higher local taxes.

Meanwhile, as Bush’s poll numbers finally plummet the Massachusetts Supreme Court decides that homosexuals in the state should be allowed to marry. It’s a great decision, but the timing is disastrous. Now instead of focusing on the mess Bush has made, the 2004 Election will focus on the “immorality” of gay marriage. Republicans will be beating their religious base to pass constitutional amendments to forever keep gay people from enjoying the same partnership rights as heterosexuals, even though the idea is deeply evil and wrong. They intend to make the next election focus on reasons why we should discriminate against people in our own country because it distracts us from the mess they made of the last three years.

There is hope that Americans will sober up by the next election. But Californians apparently haven’t arrived there yet and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the country. They replaced a governor with an actor whose first act was to increase the state’s financial problems by repealing some unpopular taxes. Way to go Gov. Fiduciary!

What hope there is comes from Americans starting to realize that they are not better off than they were in 2000, and likely won’t be better off for the foreseeable future. As we start to sober up we have begun to realize we will have to invest a little of their own money to change the country. Howard Dean believes if he can get two million Americans to send him $100 he can retake the White House and win an election where he is not tainted by special interest money. Let’s hope he is right.

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